The final submission for UTAS Writing The Family History Saga, William’s Funeral is based on factual details. The narrative has been  constructed to tell the story of my great grandmother Lily Menz Morse  who was widowed when her husband died in a tragic mine accident at the same time Queen Victoria died,  William and Lily had 4 boys under 9 years of age and she was 8 months pregnant with her fifth child. he was born  in March 1901 and named for his father William Francis Samuel Morse.  My grandfather is the middle son, Percy  Morse. Lily was on her own as she was estranged from her family. Her formidable father  Abel Menz  felt she had married beneath station.   Able was a powerful man  in the Mount Franklin Shire, and Past President  and Councillor of the shire. I want  to believe that her 11 brothers stood by her at the time of her husband’s death although I have no evidence to support this. Her sons were named for her brothers. Annie and James Parker are her sister in-law and brother in-law.  Annie was William’s sister and both were witnesses at Lily and William’s  elopement. This is my narrative relating to William’s Funeral.William& Lily's headstone

Everything was black, even the moon hid from view. The soft rain[1] fell echoing her mood. Lily set in her rocking chair on the front porch.  Her belly rising and falling as the child kicked.  Wrapped in an old quilt, Lily’s tears flowed. William lay in the front room[2].  Her thoughts were about the boys and the new baby. The Colony was in mourning the death of the old Queen[3], but she mourned William.

She closed her eyes against the night and everything went black.

The smell of porridge tickled Lily’s nostrils before Otto woke her.                                            “Mumma, mumma are you all right?” Otto shook Lily. Awake for hours,  Otto made sure Percy and Harold ate breakfast and changed Bertie. He understood how hard today would be.  Otto’s ninth birthday was only two weeks away.  The eldest boy, he was the man of the family. .  Looking down at her skirt she smiled when she saw the grey lumpy hand-print.  Otto had made porridge to feed the boys. Now her clothes need changing, and the funeral was at 10.00am.  Pulling her watch out of her pocket, she noted there was enough time before Annie arrived.  Her brother and sister-in-law, had been so helpful. Annie had lent her a black bombazine dress to wear. Smiling she thought just as well she was thin and Annie wide, for the dress fitted her in her eighth month.  The boys would need help to dress, she couldn’t leave everything to Otto.

Lily adverted her eyes from crepe draped coffin. The essence of William didn’t exist in a wooden box, he lived in her heart and as long as she had the boys he would always be with her. Reverend Rogers[4] had sat with her last night and talked about the future. He’d talked to the Mine manager. There might make a small annuity available. The parish would help where possible. She thanked him for his kindness, but her insides curled up at the thought of accepting charity.

She dressed slowly, and before she knew it Annie arrived; breezing through the door like a breath of fresh air.  James following in her wake with several brown paper parcels in his arms.  Annie took immediate control; organising the boys and before she could blink, they were washed and changed. Shouts and giggles sounded as they cut the string and unwrapped the packages.  Five-year-old Percy ran into the room;

“See Mumma, new pants and shoes he pointed his foot. Auntie Annie has new pants and shoes for all of us, even Bertie.”

“Percy, come here and help me with Bertie,” Annie’s muffled voice called from the back room. Percy raced back and, the giggling continued.

Lily retreated to the porch, to her chair, unable to stay in the front room, she had tried but felt breathless. James carried a tea tray out and placing the tray on the table he handed Lily a mug of sweet tea.

“Where did all the food in the kitchen come from, Lily?

“From the neighbours, it’s a good spread for the Wake.”

James laughed, “Well that’s something. It appears Otto’s been cooking porridge. Somehow I don’t think you’ll be able to selvage the pot.”

Before Lily answered, the boys spilled out on to the porch. Annie followed, her pink cheeks glowing. The boys standing to attention, with two-year-old Bertie balanced on Percy’s hip. Bertie’s thumb remained jammed in his mouth.

Harold twisting and turning to show off his new clothes spied the two drays coming up the road.

“Mumma! Look Uncle Otto, Uncle Alex, Uncle Ernest, and oh just everybody!”

Lily looked up through the drizzling rain across the rail line to the church. Revered Rodgers’ trap was already there, push-bikes and drays crammed into the rear. The black draped dray pulled up out the front. The second dray loaded with men drove on to the house.

Otto drove the trap around the back. The rain stopped.  He dismounted and the six brothers walked together to the steps of the porch.

“Morning Lily, we’re here to take William to Chapel.”

Lilly nodded and her boys melted to her side, and they walked down the steps as her brothers entered the house. Standing three on either side of the coffin they raised it from the trestles. Turning, they carried the coffin from the room, out the door and down the steps. In the yard they stopped, shifted William’s coffin to their shoulders and linking arms underneath, they began the short walk to the Church. Lily followed. Annie and James closed in beside her, and with the boys they made the journey across the railway line to the church.


[1] 1901 ‘WEATHER FORECAST.’, The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 – 1924), 22 January, p. 1. , viewed 20 Aug 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article207027824

[2] Death Certificate of William Samuel Frances Morse, died 23 January 1901, Registrar of Birth, Deaths and Marriages, Victoria, 28251/1901

[3] 1901 ‘PUBLIC MOURNING’, The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), 24 January, p. 10. , viewed 19 Aug 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196061718

[4] https://victoriancollections.net.au/items/5ac5a60b21ea6b05947f8500





ARGENTINA   pop 45,605,826 – area   2,780,400

Language  Spanish  — in the Chubut area  Welsh

Capitol Buenos Aires   Currency  Peso

Government Federal presidential constitutional republic

Buenos días y bienvenidos a la hermosa Argentina.  We are landing this morning at the major airport   Aeropuerto Internacional de Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini in Ezeiza city, Buenos Aires. It is a short  22km drive into  Buenos Aires.

An ancient country with settlement reaching back to Palaeolithic times and home to the Incan Empire. European settlement harks back to the 1502 with the arrival of  Amerigo Vespucci.

A vibrant, mineral rich and culturally diverse country, it is also known for its architecture, scenic beauty, friendly people and food.  If you follow soccer then Diego Armando Maradona (30 October 1960 – 25 November 2020) was an Argentine retired professional footballer. He was widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time.   If you are interested in theatre  and opera; Time Rice’s Musical Evita comes to mind and the Teatro Colón (Spanish: Columbus Theatre) is ranked amongst the five best Opera houses in the world. Argentina also has the largest biodiversity eco system in the world.  A land of beautiful modern cities and  unbelievable natural beauty

It also is an oddity. The Welsh people first arrived in Patagonia in 1865. They had migrated to protect their native Welsh culture and language. In the province of Chedut. Welsh is spoken in everyday life.   Funnily enough  the favourite street food is Argentinian empanadas these are a small savory pastry filled with a selection of meat, cheese and other ingredients. Each region of the country has its own specialty.  They remind me of the Cornish Pastie.

Enjoy your wandering in this beautiful land but whatever you  do, don’t turn up on time for dinner or an engagement it is considered rude.

For something very different tomorrow we head to Armenia.  Be seeing you


Luanda Bay Area Daylight


ANGOLA   Pop 32,866,272   area 1,246,620 km2

Capital Luanda    Language  Portuguese

Late arrival today in the Republic of Angola on the west coast of Southern Africa. The seventh-largest country in Africa. It is bordered by Namibia to the south, the DR Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Angola has an exclave province, the province of Cabinda, that borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It has been continuously inhabited since the Old Stone Age or Palaeolithic times. Colonised by the Portuguese in the 16th century its borders have been very fluid  the current formation has been in place since the early 20th century.  Common to colonised territories it has seen many fierce wars including a devastating Civil War in 1975. War continued with the involvement the USA  and South Africa and the forces of Cuba and Russia and  ended in 2002 and the country has been relatively stable since that point. It is now a unitary, presidential constitutional republic.

It has huge quantities of minerals and petroleum; life expectancy is the lowest in the world with very high infant mortality. The majority of the nation’s wealth is held by China and the USA with a very low standard of living for the average Angolian .   Tomorrow we will visit Antigua and Barbuda. Be seeing you




Antigua and Barbuda   pop 97,929    area 440 km2

Capitol St. John    Languages English Antiguan and Barbudan Creole

Flight time from Angola to Antigua and Barbuda is approx. 10 hours across the South Atlantic.  We are touching down at VC International Airport  on the main island Antigua.  The area is composed of two major islands, Antigua and Barbuda separated by 63 km (39 mi), and smaller islands (including Great BirdGreenGuianaLongMaidenPrickly PearYork IslandsRedonda). 

Explored by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and colonised by the British in 1632. Having been part of the Federal Colony of the Leeward Islands from 1871, Antigua and Barbuda joined the West Indies Federation in 1958.

 It is dependent on Tourism and there is no taxation system.  The greatest threat is climate change and rising sea levels. Investment banking and financial services also make up an important part of the economy.

Enjoy your stay and explore these beautiful Islands.  Tomorrow we will be travelling to Argentina land of gauchos, pampas, guanaco, viscachas, and bush dogs and the magnificent Mar del Plata, in Buenos Aires Province, is Argentina’s oldest and largest beach. Be. seeing you




Pop 77,265    area 468 km²     National language  Catalan

Capital Andorra La Vella (Roc de Sant Pere)

We have touched down today in the landlocked  tiny, independent co-principality of Andorra situated between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains.

Andorrans speak Spanish – Catalan, French and English.  Andorra is approx. half the size of the Canberra City which is 814.2 km².

Andorra consists of a cluster of mountain valleys whose streams unite to form the Valira River. Two of these streams, the Madriu and the Perafita, flow into the Madriu-Perafita-Claror valley, which occupies about one-tenth of Andorra’s land area and is characterized by glacial landscapes, steep valleys, and open pastures. 

 There are no  customs duties and no taxes, this has led to Andorra becoming  an important international centre of retail trade that has attracted millions of shoppers from all over Europe with its duty-free imported consumer goods, including alcoholic beverages, electronic devices, tobacco, and clothing. Tourism is another of Andorra’s leading industries, and the area has excellent opportunities for winter sports. 

Be dazzled by the beauty of this land and tomorrow we will drop into Angola Be seeing you



Day 3

ARM, CHAIR TRAVEL-  Day 3 – Algeria,,

Pop  48,851,044  area 2,381740  Cap. Algiers

‘ahlan bikum fi aljazayir  oe Welcome to Algeria

Today we touch down in the mystic land of contrasts. Algeria has it’s coastline on the Mediterranean Sea and in it’s  interior it is home to the Saharan Desert.

The Sahara Desert in Africa is the world’s third largest desert, and it is larger than the continent of Australia, it is 3.053sqkms in size.

An ancient land in  Ain Hanech (Saïda Province), early remnants (200,000 BC) of hominid occupation in Northern Africa have been uncovered.  Carthage was place of power in the area in 600 BCE

A place of great historical importance  and was a French colony for 1830  until 1962,  It is now know as the Peoples Democratic republic of Algeria. There is much natural beauty  and architecture and archaeological treasures to be discovered in this seductive country.

Enjoy you stay in Algeria and tomorrow we visit Andorra.  Be seeing you.


Albanian Coastline



welcome – mire se erdhe

Today we touch down in ALBANIA pop 2.838 million (2020) Land Area 2,7400 (Km²).

Albania, on Southeastern Europe’s Balkan Peninsula, is a small country with Adriatic and Ionian coastlines and an interior crossed by the Albanian Alps. The country has many castles and archaeological sites. Occupied by Italy in WW11, post war it forged strong ties with China and was known as the Socialist People’s Republic of Albania. Now known as the People’s Republic of Albania. On Australia’s do not travel list for many years due to the instability of its government. A place of great beauty and history. Enjoy your stay and next stop Algeria. Be seeing you.


a land of majestic beauty


In this hypervigilant Covid environment I am weary of gloom and doom and watching Covid numbers climb. As a result I am setting a challenge to undertake a positive action, an alphabetical tour of the world from my armchair. I may not be able to travel in person, however thanks to technology I can create a virtual trip that we can all share.

Today I am stepping back in time to the 1960s and starting with Afghanistan Population 38,928,346 Land Area; (Km²) 652860 stats from 2020.

After receiving positive feedback to my FB post I decided to take this idea a step further and;

  1. Add it to my blog and create an on going feature
  2. Add some additional information

Viewing photos to compliment the text I was drawn to the “Paris of Asia” Afghanistan in the 1960s and 70s. Today’s images portray a desolate damaged land. The beauty of it’s buildings, the vibrancy of it’s people and the charm of it’s architectures have dissolved into dusty mounds of rubble. lorded over by bearded men with automatic weapons and portable missile carriers. A sad fate.

Five decades ago the capital Kabul was a thriving metropolis. Enjoy your trip to the glory days, tomorrow we head off to Algeria. Be seeing you.




I believe the rain will fallLOVERS

As tears upon my face

I believe your tender hands

Wipe away my tears

I believe the suns gentle rays

Will heal my breaking heart

I believe your energy

Warms and heals my soul

I believe the gentle winds

Will caress my burning skin

I believe your remembered touch

Comforts me as I wake

I believe the rushing waves

Hold me fast upon the sand

I believe your presence in my heart

Holds me safe against the raging storm

I believe the stars above

Shine brighter every night

I believe you are here

Your voice in natures sounds

Holding my love forever

I believe I will always hear

I believe our love is eternal

I hear you in the Magpies carol and Kookas song

I believe love is eternal and

Memories are strong

I hear your voice, your laugh

I feel your touch I smell your smell


I believe the rain will fall

As tears upon my face

I believe your tender hands

Hold me fast against my  fears

For we are soul mates

Never will we part

For I am you

And you are me

You are forever in my heart

It is only a material possession


ring 2

“On 6 October 1973 fighting erupted in the Middle East when Egyptian forces surged across the Suez Canal into Israel. Simultaneously Syrian troops attacked Israeli forces, in the Golan Heights, in what became known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War or the Yom Kippur War. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 338 (22 October 1973) called for a ceasefire and a second resolution (340 of 25 October 1973) established the second United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF II), of 7,000 troops to oversee the cease fire and the return of the warring parties to their own territory. By the time fighting had ceased Israeli forces had crossed the Suez Canal, capturing a significant portion of Egyptian territory and were within striking distance of the capital Cairo.In early 1976 the Australian Government agreed to commit forces to UNEF II consisting of two army personnel serving in the UNEF II headquarters for a 12 month period and a 50 man detachment, from 5 Squadron RAAF, operating four UH-1H Iroquois helicopters for six month rotations. Included in the RAAF contingents during 1977 – 80 were RAN aircrew and aircraft maintainers…The Australian contingent was referred to as AUSTAIR and on 10 June 1976 a 16 man RAAF advance party left Australia for Egypt to set up the Australian facility at Ismailia on the western side of the Suez Canal.1 There was already a strong UNEF II presence here and the Canadian Armed Forces provided substantial assistance to establish the Australian force. ”  https://www.navy.gov.au/media-room/publications/semaphore-second-united-nations-emergency-force-naval-aviators-egypt-during

June 1976

As a service wife (RAAF) I had become used to saying goodbye to my husband as he was sent off on short term postings. We spent seven years in Canberra at RAAF  Base Fairbairn. My partner was a Rad Tech Air  in No 5 Squadron.  During that seven year period he was away more often than he was home.  Bush fires and floods required logistical support. Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin in 1974 he was in the first flight in to help with the clean up and search for survivors.  1975 he was in New Guinea during the transition to Independence.  During this time we had a second child, a boy, born in 1973.  Then in 1976  when   our son was about to turn three  and our daughters  sixth birthday my husband was posted to Ismailia as part of the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces.  It was  a six month posting.  Effectively at 26 I was a single mum with two small children.  In those days there was little support for RAAF wives when their partners were away on extended postings unlike the  Navy which had an excellent support service.  This was in the days where the only communication was  snail mail and ham radio, no computers in those days.   I vividly remember watching the Bathurst 1000 on TV and taped the commentary on to my cassette tape recorder and sending the tapes to Egypt  apparently they were shared over the forces radio and enjoyed by all. Morris and Fitzpatrick took out the honours in a Holden Torana.

chopper 5 sqmap


In 1977 when my husband returned he bought me a gift   – it was a pair of ear 93651181_10222507267848686_8080133819484602368_nrings purchased at the Cairo Museum.  They are reputed to be a copy of a pair of earings worn by Cleopatra. The years passed and I wore these earings continuously rarely taking them out (pierced ears). I loved those earrings they were special. As time wore on eventually our  marriage broke down. It was no ones fault, it takes two to make a relationship work and we simply grew up and grew apart.  Eventually we parted company but those earrings remained a treasured belonging.  I continued wearing them night and day then  one day last week I went for a long walk and later that night I realised one earring was missing. I searched the house, stripped the bed, I know the earring was in place in the morning as I remember seeing it when I was brushing my hair.  It was one of those things, it was part of me, I wasn’t aware of it being there – but I was aware when it wasn’t there.  It would seem the clip had come loose and it had fallen out.  For  forty three years those earrings helped define who I was. Even though we divorced in 1984 they remained treasured objects.

I was upset that I had lost the earring, there was a monetary loss they were 24 cart gold and jade. There was the emotional tie, they were one of the few things that I had kept,  treasured possession from my first marriage. But then I reminded myself  that they were a material possession and at the end of the day that was that. I was sad as they were a memory of another lifetime – but I will always have those memories.  They were merely a possession, if you like a talisman.  The remaining earring is in my phone case I see it every time I use my phone. It seems I still have a great deal to learn about attachment and material possessions.

Perhaps loosing the earring was a sign to simply focus on the now and continue walking confidently into the future.  I have no regrets about the decisions I have made. I do not need to cling to the past. We are facing challenging times and the world will never be the same again post  Covid 19.   We need to focus on working towards a better future for us all. I look at my husband, my partner of the past 37 years and think about the wonderful years we have had together and pray that there are more wonderful years ahead of us.  Our grandson is facing his VCE year  and is unable to attend school. What does the future hold for him?  The loss of the earring is nothing more than the ripple in a pond and after all it is only a possession, a material item of no  consequence in real terms. Some one may find it, if so may it’s beauty bring them happiness or  it may simply have returned to the earth.

COVID 19 2020


This entry  will  be used as a touchstone for further entries  It will serve as a reminder of how our world has changed and how we have moved into a dystopian nightmare – one we pray we awake from into a new normal.

The one bright shinning fact of this horrible time is that Mother Earth has begun a healing process.
The polluted canals of Venice are clean and swans and dolphins have been seen in the waters.  The magnificent Himalayas are visible form India for the first time in over 30 years.  Satellite photos show the dramatic fall in air pollution as major cities have shut down industries. Stories like these are flooding in from all parts of the globe Gaia is healing herself.

The truth of how this tragedy has occurred will never be made public, because even  as these words are typed, the Communist Chinese Government, is rewriting history and obscuring the facts  about how this virus has impacted on China itself.  Doctors and scientists are discredited and jailed for speaking out. The true  number of people infected will never be known, nor will the death toll. The satellite pictures speak for themselves.   Huge numbers of mass graves.

The enduring images that will remain forever are of the Wet Markets in Wuhan where  critically endangered animals are slaughtered and sold as delicacies. This practice has not ceased even though there is strong evidence to support claims that the disease has been transmitted through the eating of these products. The fact that the trade in these animals is deemed illegal seems to have no impact on the Chinese. The United Nations World Health Authority refuses to take steps to sanction China. An unforgettable image from the television coverage  was of a family of Uyghurs  (Wegas) being sealed into their homes the door way concreted shut with armed guards out side. The parents had the Covid 19 virus and their children were sealed inside with them.  It is a high probability these people starved to death. This is shows how little Australia’s major trading partner values the lives of minority groups or those who oppose it’s rule.

This terrible virus has spread world wide claiming many hundreds of thousands  of lives. Europe especially Italy and Spain have been hit hard.  In Spain many Aged Care facilities were abandoned and there were news reports of the old and infirm dying in their beds with no care, no help, their only release being death.  The USA with President Trump in charge is facing a massive death toll – New York City is a ghost town there simply are not enough medical staff, ventilators and protective equipment to cope with the onslaught of this disease. Yesterday the whole of the USA all 50 states is under declaration of a national emergency.

Australia had the opportunity as an island nation to act swiftly and close our borders but the Prime Minister  vacillated and ran the Scott Morrison Road show instead.  We are a Commonwealth of States.  But this emergency has shown that we are unable to come together as an single entity.  The State Premiers cannot agree to act cohesively  – each one wanting to put their own stamp on histories page.  Is this because the PM is too weak to be seen to lead us safely through this unprecedented crisis or has ego simply been the stumbling block?  The lack of leadership from Mr Morrison has been horrendous.  Broad ambiguous guidelines left open ended  for the Sates to interpret.  It is possible that the political nous behind this is  ” If it goes wrong it is not the Commonwealths fault.. It is up to the States to implement and manage the strategies”   Surely this a time to act in a united capacity, bipartisan  and  for the benefit of all Australians.

Currently in NSW the Police Commissioner is saying that the NRL can start playing rugby on a particular date without the  input of  the State’s Health Minister.  Where did the Police Commissioner get his medical degree?   These proposed actions are going against the advice of the  senior health officials who are respected experts in this field. Currently they also seem to reached this decision with out the NSW’s Premiers input.

It is like a French farce each State enacting differing rules …it is irresponsible  governance.  It is impossible to even attempt to imagine what it must be like to make the best decisions  for the health and welfare of our nation in this time of need…No one in their right mind would want to have this responsibility .  But this is the reality of government and it does not get much worse than this.

Travel is restricted through out Australia. Some states have reacted more forcibly than others. Only residents returning to their home state can cross patrolled borders, along with the exceptions of trucks carting supplies, essential workers etc.  Even returning residents from another state are being subjected to 14 days isolation.

The following was posted on Facebook

 Easter Monday, 13th April 2020 

Scott Morrison is the Prime Minister of Australia. Mark McGowan is the Premier of Western Australia. Australia has closed its borders to the world. Western Australia has closed its borders to the rest of Australia. Western Australians cannot travel between regions.

For almost three weeks, pubs, cinemas, restaurants, indoor sports have been closed. Concerts, festivals, sports, weddings have been cancelled. Churches are closed. Only 10 people can attend funerals.

Petrol price is less than $1 per litre – in the cities. Panic buying means there’s no toilet paper, disinfecting supplies or hand sanitiser on the shelves. Pasta, rice, flour, eggs, mince, canned tomatoes have been in limited supply. Supermarkets have restricted some products to one or two per shopper. Tape on the floors at shops to help distance shoppers (1.5m) from each other. Limited number of people inside shops, therefore lineups outside the doors. Non-essential shops and businesses starting to close.

Office workers are working from home. Schools closed and children are to be schooled at home. Easter holidays must be spent at home. All non-essential travel banned. Fines are established for breaking the rules. Police patrolling the streets and beaches.

Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers. Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill. Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitiser and PPE. Arenas open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients.

Children’s playgrounds are closed. We are to distance from each other. Press conferences daily from the government. The government throws money at businesses to try to keep the economy from imploding. Grants and loans. Some governments to pay 80% of employees wages where businesses cannot continue to do so. Daily updates on new cases and deaths.

Barely anyone on the roads. People wearing masks and gloves outside. Essential key workers are terrified to go to work. Medical field workers are afraid to go home to their families.

This is the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic, declared March 11th, 2020.

Why, you ask, did I write this status? One day it will show up in my memory feed, and it will be a yearly reminder that life is precious and not to take the things we dearly love for granted.” 

The big question is …